The Book of Whys

Enchanted Lion. Jan. 2024. 152p. Tr $27.95. ISBN 9781592703647.
Gr 3-5–This is a whimsical offering from Rodari, who answered children’s questions through his weekly newspaper column. He gave insightful answers that were part fact, part poem. Children would send in questions such as “Why are grown-ups always right?” or “Why doesn’t the moon fall down?” He has been compared to Lewis Carroll in regards to his style of using “logic and illogic” to shape his responses. He aimed to help children make sense of their world. Each question and their answers are paired with Yoon’s beautiful illustrations, which are as charmingly eccentric as the answers. They are done in a fantastic colored pencil style, and vary from a small corner or page border to entire spreads. An artist’s note describes how Rodari’s work inspired this new art. The book includes an introduction to Rodari written by the translator, an artist’s note, and a table of contents, which is a list of every question sent in by a child. Overall, this book might be a little hard to place in a nonfiction collection. It’s part poetry, part factual. But it might work well in a picture book collection for older readers.
VERDICT A decent purchase for libraries.

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